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Peoples Bank announces merger

Peoples Bank announced its merger with Premier Bank and Citizens Deposit Bank & Trust on Monday.

With this addition, customers will have access to new services, according to CEO Chuck Sulerzyski.

“We bring a lot to the table. We also have a fair amount of capabilities in terms of digital and mobile capabilities,” he said. “We can take it up to the next level and I think that will benefit customers.”

Premier Bank customers will now have access to investment services and insurance products through Peoples Bank.

“Because we are a bigger bank and we can do bigger loans. We can take care of more of the needs of the customer,” Sulerzyski said.

Joining the three banks has been in the works for about a year and Sulerzyski feels it will be beneficial to all involved.

“We’re very optimistic about the future. I think whenever there’s an acquisition, people tend to get nervous, (but) people should feel good because of the extra capabilities that we bring,” he said.

Employees will also benefit from the merger with the pay and benefits Peoples offers, according to Sulerzyski.

With pay starting at $15 per hour, 401k company match and other benefits, he said people like working for the company and Premier and Citizens employees will have an opportunity for any position that opens at Peoples.

By September, the merge will be complete and Premier and Citizens bank locations will be Peoples Bank branches, according to a press release.

“The acquisition is expected to close during the third quarter of 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and the approval of the shareholders of Peoples and Premier,” the release said.

When it’s all said and done, Peoples Bank will have 136 locations spanning across West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

With the expansion, Peoples will have the fifth largest number of FDIC insured offices in West Virginia.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to join forces with one of the strongest banks in the region. Our customers, employees and shareholders will benefit from Peoples’ history of profitable growth and expertise in successfully executing acquisitions,” said Bob Walker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Premier.

“We are also excited about Peoples’ expansive suite of products, which will provide us the ability to deliver new products and services, including insurance and investment products, to our valued customers in the communities we serve. Peoples’ community banking model, culture and commitment to high-quality customer service makes Peoples’ an excellent choice for Premier.”

After being voted as the number one bank in West Virginia last year, Sulerzyski hopes to maintain that positive reputation.

“We think what we do and how we do it will be even more appreciated by the people in West Virginia,” he said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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